barbed wire

How ‘Accountability Courts’ Curbed Georgia’s Prison Growth

Dozens of states are now facing up to the challenge of reducing correctional spending while improving public safety. In an excerpt from a forthcoming book, two experts examine “accountability courts,” one of the initiatives launched by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal that have already curbed the projected growth in state prison populations.

Algorithms and Justice: Scrapping the ‘Black Box’

Secret proprietary algorithms used to make decisions on bail, sentencing and parole make our justice system less accountable, according to a Duke University professor. She proved software engineers could create simpler risk assessment tools that were more transparent, but just as accurate, by working with colleagues to create one.


Why I Am Not a Recidivist

A Washington State parole board rejected our columnist’s appeal for release from prison for a crime committed when he was a juvenile on the grounds that he had a “moderate to high” likelihood of re-offending. But they appear to have based the decision on a psychological risk assessment tool used to measure adult offenders.

dark street

Courts Fail Black Sex Trafficking Victims, Say Advocates

Justice-involved women, particularly women of color, are often “exploited” twice: first by human traffickers, and then by a court system that focuses on punishment rather than on providing the trauma services and counseling they need, said a New York City judge.

Boston Federal Court Tries Restorative Justice

To avoid prison terms, defendants who admitted serious crimes came face to face with people who had lost children and close family members to overdoses and shootings. So far, 15 people have “graduated” and only four have dropped out. “The initial signs re excellent,” say a federal judge.

Justices Skeptical That Lawyer Can Override Client

Both liberal and conservative Supreme Court justices signaled that they have a problem with a lawyer who disregards his client’s express wishes by conceding the defendant’s guilt. The court was hearing the case of Robert McCoy of Louisiana, whose attorney, Larry English, told a jury that McCoy was guilty of three murders, even though McCoy expressed his innocence, despite overwhelming evidence against him. 


Defendants Judge the Courts: More Courtesy, Please

When defendants in New York City were asked in a recent survey to evaluate how they were treated in court, some officials called it “coddling.” But the results suggest that court officers could take a few lessons in fostering respect for the law.